Earlier this afternoon, MTA New York City Transit announced their plans to pilot express service in the Bronx on downtown trains for the A.M. rush. The service will run for three weeks & last for one hour during the morning rush. Here are the complete details via a press release that was e-mailed by the MTA:
MTA New York City Transit is set to begin a pilot program aimed at shortening travel times along the 4 Line with the creation of a new Bronx Express 4 service between Woodlawn and 149th Street-Grand Concourse. The enhanced service will operate for a one-hour period during the weekday morning rush.
The pilot will begin June 8th and run through June 26th and be comprised of four trains within a one-hour period during the morning rush. The Bronx Express trains are scheduled to depart weekdays from Woodlawn at 7:15 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 7:45 a.m. and 8 a.m. After leaving Woodlawn, the Bronx Express 4 will make a station stop at Mosholu Parkway before switching to the middle track and heading to Burnside Avenue. From Burnside, the train will make its final Bronx station stop at 149th Street before making all regular express stops along the 4.
Customers boarding at Mosholu Parkway and Burnside Avenue will be alerted to the Bronx Express 4 by conductors’ announcements. Customers are being informed of the pilot through the distribution of take-ones printed in English and Spanish, as well as informational posters.
“The idea for this pilot is directly attributable to the Line General Managers program and it illustrates the types of innovations made possible when you have people running the railroad directly. David Knights, Group General Manager of IRT East and 4 Line General Manager Herb Lambert were looking to speed travel along a route that has been traditionally local in the Bronx,” said New York City Transit President Howard H. Roberts, Jr. “Signal improvements and the continued mechanical reliability of the car fleet have allowed them to try new ways of improving service.”
“By skipping nine stations, the Bronx Express 4 is expected to shave about 3.5 minutes off the 20 to 21 minutes scheduled running time between Woodlawn and 149th Street-Grand Concourse during the height of the a.m. peak. This is a significant time saving when you are headed out to work in the morning,” said IRT East Group General Manager Knights. “This pilot will determine the feasibility of bringing Jerome Avenue service in line with the Concourse, White Plains Road and Pelham Bay corridors by offering an express service to morning commuters.”
This pilot is possible because of the recent upgrades made to the center track signaling system within the 2005-2009 Capital Program. The signal job called for the installation of intermediate signals along the stretch of elevated track between Woodlawn and 161st Street. As a result of the project, we now have a greater flexibility of use with the middle track and can send trains in passenger service as well as work trains up or down the middle track. In the event of a disruption in service or track maintenance, we can also reroute trains onto the middle track. Similar signaling systems, allowing express service, are in place on the Flushing and White Plains Road Lines among others that have three tracks.
The results of the pilot will be evaluated after the completion of the three-week period and a decision will be made on whether to make this change permanent.
Customers may call our Travel Information Center at 718-330-1234 from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, or log onto www.tripplanner.mta.info to use Trip Planner to plan their trips. Customers with web enabled phones or PDAs can use our Trip Planner On-the-Go! by going to www.tripplanner.mta.info/mobile; in addition to planning their trips, Blackberry users can download the free icon for one touch access to the service.
This should prove to be a very interesting pilot although I wonder if backlash will occur from riders at stops that will not be able to board these trains. I am curious what the reaction will be from other transit buffs as service patterns are always a hot topic amongst us.
xoxo Transit Blogger